By Dave Johnson
It was a wild ride for the Washington Wizards in San Antonio. In just four quarters they went from embarrassment to encouragement. After starting with their worst half of the season with 26 points, the Wizards staged a strong rally before losing to the Spurs 96-86.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
The Wizards have not won in San Antonio since Mitch Richmond led the team with 31 points in a game in December of 1999. Through two quarters the Wizards seemed set for one of their worst ever defeats in San Antonio. The Spurs, who led by as many as 27 in the second quarter, closed the first half on a 23-3 run to take a 51-26 lead into the break,
Instead of the game being over, it really started for the Wizards in the third quarter. The ball movement, missing most of this past week, returned. The Wizards outscored the Spurs 60-45 in the second half. John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points and Martell Webster added 14 points. After going 0 for 6 in the first half Nene scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
“We didn’t come out moving the ball. We had a couple open shots and we just missed them. We didn’t do a great job of getting back defensively, so they got easy baskets. They just got into their flow. I think in the second half we just played with more enthusiasm, played defense, moved the ball and played more freely. We gave ourselves a decent shot to win but we just missed a couple shots at the end. That’s the way we have to play throughout the whole game. We’re not a team who can just turn it on in the second half and try and get back on leads, especially with a team like this at home. You’ve got to stick with it as much as possible.”
Singling out Chris Singleton:
Chris Singleton, who had not played since the Wizards win over Minnesota, was a factor in the Wizards second half recovery Singleton played almost all of his twenty minutes in the second half and finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Randy Wittman on Singleton:
"Big props to Chris. I talked to him the other day in Memphis and I told him he handled it well. He's worked hard and put in extra time. I said 'I know you're probably frustrated as anybody would be, but you have to stay ready. I don't know when you're time will come, but it will come soon. Things are going to happen and your time is going to come and you have got to be ready.' To his credit it just so happened that tonight was the night his time came and he stepped up and played well."
Don’t second that:
The Wizards did not enjoy playing in the second quarter on the road. In Philadelphia the Wizards only scored 11 points in the second quarter. In Memphis they scored only 10 points and against the Spurs only scored 9 points in the second quarter.
During the second half of the loss to the Spurs, the Wizards looked more like the team that went on a run of seven wins in ten games last month. The movement off the ball was better. The play was unselfish and the Wizards only allowed the Spurs two points off 7 second half turnovers.